Comparisons have been made for the last 5 years complaining of all the attention lavished on 9/11, on the dead, on the survivors, on the catastrophe itself. They roll out tabulated charts comparing annual deaths by cancer, collisions, heart attacks to make their points.
In the late 20th century increasing numbers of Americans hold dual citizenship, in the country of the United States of America and citizenship in the country of victimization. Everyone strives to present a passport certifying that they are a victim, a survivor. Even 9/11 represents an inability for many people to call a halt to this jockeying.
9/11 is a break from the shifting maze of victimhood identities, black, latino, white, asian, gay, cancer survivor, abuse survivor, drug survivor; for a chance to unite as Americans and understand that we had a chance to stop being survivors and to become fighters. To stop being the hyphenated victims of pet causes and to rise to the occasions as citizens of a great nation, a waking giant towering over the world.
There is a lot that people go through whether it's disease or personal tragedy and we should care about those things and combat them but they are in a different category altogether. Disease cannot be likened to terrorism and to a global war against all of us. It's not only a slap in the face to the United States and the victims of 9 11 and other terrorist attacks but a failure to understand that the usual post-modern liberal ways of thinking about tragedy have become irrelevant and it is time to understand that.
Comparing disease to war and terror is nonsense but, a very liberal left-leaning point of view to be sure. More people die of disease than war. Yes most people.. huge numbers die in their sleep. Perhaps a war on sleep is necessary? A war is not merely a struggle, we have assigned Wars on Poverty, Wars on Disease, Wars on Hunger. We've become isolated enough from the reality of war that we've come to use it as a metaphor for any social problem. But war at its most basic is a struggle for the very existence of a people and a nation. That is what we face now and today and that is the test of our nation, whether we can rise above our citizenships in the multitude of countries of victimization and become Americans standing together or perish as victims apart.